David LaFlamme - violin, vocals
Linda LaFlamme - keyboards
Patti Santos - vocals, percussion
Mitchell Holman - bass
Val Fuentes - drums
This run of It's A Beautiful Day shows is somewhat of a holy grail for fans of the band, as it captures them several months before they recorded their highly revered debut album and featuring the original lineup before they added guitarist, Hal Wagenet. On the impressive Fillmore bill that night, Its A Beautiful Day followed avant-garde jazz pianist Cecil Taylor and opened for The Yardbirds (featuring Jimmy Page), whose late arrival allowed the band such an extended set.
The band had already created a distinctive sound, quite unlike other bands of that era. David LaFlamme and Patti Santos' vocal blend and the group's orchestral approach to arrangements, including using the violin as a primary lead instrument, gained them a large following among people looking for something outside the scope of jam bands in the Bay Area.
This first night of the run is a tour-de-force performance that was extended to a little over 90 minutes due to a delayed arrival of the headliner, The Yardbirds. The group begins with a composition comprised of an unreleased song, Love For You with "Bulgaria" sandwiched within, material the LaFlamme's had written and performed with their earlier band Orkustra. Typical trippy 1967 lyrics abound here, but the music is quite interesting and these pieces segue into one another with the flow of music going through various stylistic changes.
An extended instrumental that has not been identified follows. It is possible that this is just a massive (19 minutes!) improvisation as it sounds less arranged than most of their material and parts of it seem like spontaneous jams of various themes in progress.
The next three songs are all numbers later recorded for their first album. "Wasted Union Blues" and "Hot Summer Day" are both fantastic early versions featuring slightly different arrangements than those on the first album. It's remarkable to hear them played with such enthusiasm and when they were so fresh and new. "White Bird," the song that eventually went on to define the group, is heard here in embryonic form. Being familiar with the album version, one can tell they are still feeling their way into the arrangement. However, the basic elements are in place and its a pleasure to hear this early version.
"Countryside" (also known as "Take That Ride By My Side,") is a country flavored piece, short and concise compared to much of the bands repertoire. This is another unreleased pre-first LP song that seems to have been dropped from their live performances shortly after this run. The set closes with the haunting "Girl With No Eyes" and an expansive take on "Time Is," the song that would close their first LP.